Current Federal Funding Landscape

Get updates about the current federal funding landscape, including the state of budget and appropriations and the implications on geoscience.

Need a little background on the budget and appropriations process? Watch our webinar to learn about the budget and appropriations process. Read our blog about our nation’s budgetary framework.

Current Landscape

The Skinny

This has been an interesting year for the budget and appropriations process. We are currently in fiscal year (FY) 2018 under a continuing resolution (CR, short term spending bill that maintains funding at previous FY levels). While Congress is still negotiating the FY2018 spending bills, the President has released his FY2019 budget request. Congress needs to finish the FY2018 process and pass a FY2019 spending bill before the new fiscal year starts on 1 October 2018.

President Releases FY 2019 Budget Request (12 February 2018)

As we have more information, we will be updating you all here. In the meantime, get the highlights about the President’s budget request here.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration – $19.9 billion or a 1.22% over FY2017 Funding Levels


President’s Budget Request for FY2018

FY19 President’s Budget Request





Overall Science




Earth Science




Planetary Science








James Webb Space Telescope








*NASA budget in millions, rounded to the nearest thousand

Notable Provisions:

The President’s request once again proposes terminating five Earth science missions, including PACE, OCO-3, CLARREO Pathfinder, DSCOVR Earth observing instruments, and RBI. NASA canceled RBI in January 2018 due to cost and schedule overruns. Overall, Earth science would see a seven percent decrease in funding.

The President’s request also cancels WFIRST due to its significant cost and other priorities within the mission.

The budget also terminates the Office of Education, including: Space Grant, MUREP, and EPSCoR.

Within Heliophysics, the request includes a $3 million increase for collaborating with other agences on space weather capabilities. Overall, Heliophysics would see a 1.8% increase in funding.

The President’s request establishes a Planetary Defense program, including the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) and Near-Earth Objective Observations. Within Planetary sicence, the budget also creates a robotic Lunar Discovery and Exploration program to support commercial partnerships in achiving exploration goals. All of this will be supported by a 21% increase in funding for planetary science.

More information about the President’s budget request for NASA can be found here.

National Science Foundation – $7.5 Billion or Flat Funding from  FY2017 Funding Levels

FY2017 President’s Budget Request for FY2018 President’s Budget Request for FY2019
Overall $7,472.22 $6,652.89 $7,472.00
Research & Related Activities $6,033.65 $5,361.65 $6,151.00
Education & Human Resources $880.00 $760.55 $873.00
Major Research Equipment & Facilities $209.00 $182.80 $95.00
National Science Board $4.37 $4.37 $4.00
Office of Inspector General $15.20 $15.01 $15.00
Agency Operations and Award Management $330.00 $328.51 $334.00

*NSF budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest thousand

Notable Provisions:

The increase for the Research & Related Activities account will allow NSF to invest in priority areas like Advancing NSF’s Big Ideas and beginning construction on the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernization for Science project.

The decrease for the Major Research Equipment & Facilities Construction account is largely due to the support for two new Regional Class Research Vessels.

The decrease for the Agency Operations and Award Management account is largely due to the completion of the construction of and relocation to NSF’s new headquarters building.

More details about the FY2019 NSF budget are available here.

National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration – $4.6 MILLION OR A 20% DECREASE FROM FY2017 FUNDING LEVELS

FY2017 President’s Budget Request for FY2018 President’s Budget Request for FY2019
Overall $5,675.00 $4,775.30 $4,560.76
National Ocean Service (NOS) $521.10 $387.00 $382.00
National Marine and Fisheries Service (NMFS) $851.54 $821.00 $810.00
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) $514.13 $350.00 $322.00
National Weather Service (NWS) $1,121.57 $1,059.00 $1,053.00
NESDIS $2,203.60 $1,816.00 $1,640.00
Mission Support $261.47 $234.00 $245.00
Office of Marine and Aviation Operations $297.93 $300.68 $304.00


Notable Provisions

The President’s budget proposal cuts NOAA overall by 20%, a total decrease of $1.1 million. This cut is 4.5% larger than what was proposed for FY18.  Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), which supports the majority of NOAA research, received the largest cut, 37%. In a similar fashion to last year, the budget request targeted climate research, and proposed cutting 38% of funding from the Climate Research Program within OAR.

The budget decreases funding for both atmospheric and oceanic research within OAR. The proposal terminates Artic research, which focuses on improvements to sea ice modeling and predictions that support fishermen, commercial shippers, cruise ships, and local communities. The budget also terminates modeling of ecosystem and fisheries vulnerabilities and reduces funding for Cooperative Institutes, universities, NOAA laboratories, and other partners that advance understanding of the Earth’s climate system. Additionally, the budget terminates Vortex-Southeast, a program used to detect, respond to, and warn against tornadoes in the Southeastern United States. As was the case last year, the proposal terminates federal support for the network of 33 Sea Grant programs located in coastal States and territories.

The President’s budget requests a 27% cut to the National Ocean Service. This includes termination of $9 million in competitive research grants for ecological research, a decrease of $84 million to terminate the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Grants Program and the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program, and a reduction of $23 million to terminate Federal funding support to states for the management of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

Although NOAA satellites are cut by 26% in the budget, it does include positive language about NOAA’s Polar Orbiting Satellites and includes funding increases for on-orbit support for the DSCOVR satellite and the Jason-3 Satellite. The budget also provides a slight funding boost to the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.

For more information about the President’s Budget Request for NOAA, see the FY19 Blue Book.


Department of Energy – $6.1 BILLION OR 25% DECREASE FROM FY2017 FUNDING LEVELS

  FY2017 President’s Budget Request for FY2018 President’s Budget Request for FY2019
Overall $30,786.01 $28,042.00 $30,609
Office of Science $5,392.00 $4,472.52 $5,391
ARPA-E $306.00 $20.00 $0

*DOE budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest thousand

Notable Provisions:

The President’s request proposes over $30.6 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE) – a less than 1% decrease from FY2017 funding levels and significantly higher than the President’s FY2018 budget request. The President’s supplemental request reduced the proposed cuts under his plan by adding another $1.5 billion to the agency’s proposed topline number.

Despite this supplemental boost and the relatively flat top line numbers, several programs under DOE would receive significant cuts under this proposal. For example, funding for the Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) is zeroed out under the President’s budget; an elimination which was proposed in the President’s FY2018 budget and faced push back from both Democrats and Republicans.

Overall, the Office of Science would see flat funding compared to current funding levels— a 20% increase over the President’s FY2018 budget request. However, all programs under the Office would see cuts, except the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program – which received a 39% increase – and the Safeguards and Security program.

For more, see the DOE budget highlights and full budget request here.

Environmental Protection Agency – $6.1 BILLION OR 25% DECREASE FROM FY2017 FUNDING LEVELS

Program FY2017 President’s Budget Request for FY2018 President’s Budget Request for FY2019
Overall $8,058.49 $5,700.00 $6,124.00
Science and Technology $713.82 $397.00 $424.00
Environmental Programs and Management $2,619.80 $1,617.00 $1,689.00

*EPA budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest thousand

Notable Provisions:

The President’s request proposes roughly $6.1 billion dollars for EPA – nearly 25% lower than its FY2017 funding levels, but higher than his previous budget request. This increase is a result of the addendum that the President released in response to the new budget. The supplemental request reduced the proposed cuts under the President’s plan by adding another $725 million to the agency’s proposed topline number.

The President’s budget proposes the elimination of several pages worth of EPA programs, particularly climate-related programs. Language in the budget justify the elimination and/or reduction of programs by stating that the proposal will “refocus EPA on its core mission” and “eliminate funding for lower priority programs”. According to the proposal, statutory requirements associated with these programs will be absorbed by other programs.

Some programs slated for elimination under the President’s plan include the Climate Change Research and Partnership Programs, Regional Science and Technology Programs, STAR research grants, Global Change Research Program and the Environmental Education Program.

Despite tauting the important work conducted at EPA and its significant role in delivering “vital data on the potential risks and hazards to first responders and the public”, if enacted, the President’s proposal would be the lowest funding level in recent memory and would result in a reduction in the EPA workforce by over 3,000.

For more, see the EPA budget highlights and full budget request here.

United States Geological Survey – $860 MILLION OR 21% DECREASE FROM FY2017 FUNDING LEVELS

FY2017 President’s Budget Request for FY2018 President’s Budget Request for FY2019
Overall $1,085.12 $922.17 $859.68
Ecosystems $159.73 $132.13 $96.13
Climate & Land Use Change $149.28 $112.85 $103.24
Energy, Minerals, & Environmental Health $94.31 $91.51 $84.11
Natural Hazards $145.01 $118.11 $117.30
Water Resources $214.75 $173.04 $164.92
Core Science Systems $116.05 $92.97 $92.28
Admin & Enterprise Information (Science Support) $105.61 $89.37 $89.25
Facilities $100.42 $112.19 $112.45


*USGS budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest thousand

Notable Provisions:

The President’s request proposes a 21% cut to USGS for FY2019, with a topline budget of $860 million. This is a 7% larger cut to the agency over last year’s proposal. The Ecosystems mission area received the largest cut, with a proposed 40% cut in funding from FY17 omnibus levels. The second largest proposed cut is to the Climate and Land Use Change mission area, which the President proposed reorganizing to create three new Land Resources subactivities.

President Trump also proposed eliminating the Environmental Health program within the Energy, Minerals, and Environmental health mission area. The Environmental Health program provides information about contaminants and pathogens in the environment to agricultural, natural resources, and public health officials, and the program supports 119 employees. The budget justification states that this cut was made “to address higher priorities”. In addition to zeroing out funding for the program, the budget seeks to increase funding for Energy and Minerals by 15%. President Trump seeks to support Executive Order 13817 and Secretarial Order 3359 which focus on strengthening the nation’s critical mineral resources and development.

The President’s budget also seeks to cut funds for hazards research programs. The budget cuts approximately $13 million from the Earthquake Hazards program and cuts about $1.7 million to operate the Global Seismic Network, which plays a critical role in monitoring earthquakes around the nation and supporting research. Additionally the proposal seeks to suspend implementation of the Volcano Early Warning System and the ShakeAlert warning system.

Similarly to last year’s budget request, the President continues to support the 2021 launch of Landsat 9, proposing $14 million for ground systems development.

For more information, see the USGS budget in brief document here, and the budget justification document here.

The Administration’s proposed budget is not only detrimental to decades of scientific research and progress but will also negatively impact the safety, security, health, and economic well-being of citizens around the globe, including millions within the United States.  Read AGU’s response to the President’s Budget here.

Congress passes fifth short-term funding bill in FY 2018 (9 February 2018)

On 9 February 2018 Congress passed a budget deal that would increase defense and non-defense spending, which includes funding for science agencies, by roughly $300 billion over two years (fiscal years 2018 and 2019). This bill would also lift the debt ceiling through March 2019.

Additionally, the bill fully repeals sequestration for non-defense spending and increases non-defense spending by $63 billion in 2018 and $68 billion in 2019.

The bill also provides disaster aid funding, including:

  • $63.2 million to EPA to assist in the clean up and inspection of Superfund, hazardous waste and leaking underground storage tank sites,
  • $8.7 million to DOE to repair damages sustained at SPR sites due to hurricanes,
  • $13 million to DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability for responding to electric grid damage, and
  • $400 million to NOAA for debris removal, mapping of affected areas, improved weather forecasting and other activities.

Lastly, the bill included a fifth continuing resolution that gives appropriators until 23 March 2018 to pass a fiscal year 2018 spending bill that accounts for this new top-line budget deal.

Learn more about what’s happened in FY2018.

Actions You Can Take:

  • Visit AGU’s Policy Action Center to write your members of Congress about the critical importance of science agencies to progress, innovation, and serving the basic needs of the American public.
  • Schedule  setting up meetings with your members of Congress
  • Share the value of your science on our everyday lives with your community or share your story with us.

Past fiscal years: